State Hatchery – Caledonia

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16 North Street
Caledonia, New York
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hatchery 1


State Hatchery
First state fish hatchery 1870
Seth Green “Father of Fish Culture” Superintendent


Seth Green 1817 – 1888
Father of fish culture in America
World-famed pioneer in conservation
In 1837 devised and here in 1864
developed the artificial propagation of fish


By the New York State Education and Conservation Departments – 1935

What was there

The first fish hatchery in the Western Hemisphere. Green originally propogated salmon here.

post card - hatchery

In the summer of 1864, Seth bought the exclusive right to the use of a long stretch of fishing grounds at Caledonia. Here he determined to raise brook trout for market, since all that he was able to catch could be sold in the Buffalo, Niagara, and Rochester markets for one dollar a pound. He had also in mind to raise fish for restocking public waters. Caledonia, about seventeen miles from Rochester, was inhabited in 1864 by about one hundred people, mostly farmers. It was well known, however, for its springs and creeks which contained huge num- bers of fish. Springs ate in abundance the entire length of Caledonia Creek, so that its waters remain at a constantly cold temperature, but never freeze. Its temperature range, from forty-five to sixty degrees, is advantageous for raising fish, especially trout. Another advantage lies in its waterfall, which is only about three feet high. Although its waters contain a very small amount of lime, they are free from pollu- tion. The creek, fed by the Caledonia springs, discharges about 200,- 000,000 gallons of this very pure water in twenty-four hours. Any or all of it could have been used by Seth. Neat the water’s edge, Seth built a small one-room house and several plain but substantial buildings to house his fish hatching ap- paratus. Numerous wooden tanks, a few hundred feet in circumfer- ence, were constructed in shallow pits with their tops built to the level of the ground. The water, containing fish of all sizes and weights, passed through these tanks. The fish were separated into sizes and kept in the tanks. Water was constantly gurgling in the tanks so that the fishes’ environment would be the same as it would be in natural ponds.

Rochester History - Seth Green, father of fish culture - by Sylvia R. Black, July 1944

seth-green nyh

What is there now

State fish hatchery specializing in brown trout.  On the property there is also a small picnic area, nature trail and historical information.  Bring quarters if you’d like to feed the fish with machine dispensed pellets.

More information

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Kelly Lucero (research/photography)
Ruby Foote (image #23 – photo from 1934)


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